An artist's rendering of the Packard factory in its glory years.
According to several online sources, the sprawling, five-story, 3.5 million square feet complex has been abandoned for a number of years, and firefighters have made nearly weekly visits to the fire-plagued site in recent months. On Sunday, a two-alarm fire sent firefighters there to battle a blaze that started on the fourth floor.
Jason Frattinni of Firehouse.com reported that Sunday’s fire raged most of the day and through the night before it eventually burned out. Crews worked through the night and continued to work into Monday.
Causes of the recent fires at the site have stemmed from scrappers working with acetylene torches and by vandals.
Concerned with hazards, the Detroit Fire Department had ordered personnel to stay out of the interior of the complex while fighting a fire. They had held special training sessions there so neighboring fire units would be familiar with the plant.
The complex, consisting of 43 buildings, was designed by Albert Kahn and opened on Detroit’s eastside in 1907. Luxury vehicles were made there until 1956. It was sold the following year for $750,000.
From the late 1970s through the late 1980s, the building was used as the Motor City Industrial Park. According to the Detroit Free Press it was most recently owned by Bioresource Inc., which emerged with the title after a lengthy court battle with the City of Detroit. The company was declared dissolved by the state in 2003 after failing to pay city taxes.
The Packard plant has been abandoned and left in
shambles in recent years.